1: the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes
2: organized activity on behalf of women’s rights and interests
And from Estelle Freedman: “Feminism is a belief that although women and men are inherently of equal worth, most societies privilege men as a group. As a result, social movements are necessary to achieve political equality between women and men, with the understanding that gender always intersects with other social hierarchies.”
I’ve been completely outraged by the happenings in our elected representatives political war on women. I haven’t had a sound night’s rest since Virginia tried to impose the equivalent of state-mandated rape (in the form of vaginal ultrasound probes for women seeking abortions). Don’t even get me started on the Sandra Fluke attack. And then, last Saturday, a group of Virginian reproductive rights activists were peacefully protesting at their Capitol, only to be literally dragged off the steps by police with riot gear. I saw my face in their faces. I just snapped… enough is enough.
I completely understand that there has been rampant abuses by governments on their protesters in the last year, and I have been distraught and disgusted. But, the bottled up rage that has been the last legislative year has finally reached an unsustainable peak, and I’m ready to explode. So, instead of screaming and yelling and having a generally foul or negative mood, I decided to try to do something about it. And while I’m only one tiny voice on the interwebs, I’m well connected enough through networks both on and off-line to probably lift something off the ground, if even just on a local level.
So what is the answer? I think the over-larking question I have is what is connecting our “third wave” feminist community together. Where are we during these injustices? The way I see it, unless you’re on a college campus or in Planned Parenthood, you might feel like you’re the only feminist you know. If you feel like you’re not part of a feminist community, you might feel alone or drowning in the tumultuous seas of patriarchy. So, where does a lonely feminist go to feel like she has any power or say at all? And once the community is found, what will it say?
I’ve been a part of a lot of national “feminist” organizations over the past several years, and over and over I’m told by the “second wavers” that new, young leadership is needed. That the only way to continue to combat and eventually eliminate patriarchal oppression is to keep our eyes on it and our minds and actions chipping away at it. And we need to do this by organizing our voices together to combat those of the opposition who seek to make our reproductive choices (and other limitations on equality) for us. Specifically, changing our politics by means of democratic action.
So, I want to ask the “third wavers,” as the second wave calls us, what do we do? Where is the feminist movement going, and how best do we meet our goals (what are our current goals)? I’m influenced by the successes of the second wave, therefore my organizing preferences are suited primarily in boots on ground protesting, and organizing together. I’ve been told, by another third waver, that our generation is that of the online social media presence, that boots on ground organizing is outdated. That marches or protests are no longer effective tools for change.
Personally, there’s nothing like an in-person march, rally, meeting, event, or even speech. It makes me feel like I’m no longer the lonely feminist biting my tongue every time a billionaire suggests aspirin between the knees for contraception. I also like the in-person networking opportunities, as it’s a more holistic approach to relationship building.
There are absolutely pros to social media networking. I mean, I’m doing it as I type. It connects our ideas to one another immediately. We are able to organize successful online petitions that inspire 30+ advertisers to drop sponsoring bigotry. We’re able to influence organizations like Komen to reverse funding decisions. I’m just curious if our generation is ready to give up the boots on the ground for the clicks on the page. Are we? Is it a combination of the two?
And should there be “leadership?” There is a lot of criticism within feminism about hierarchical order, even within the feminist movement and formal organizations. Can we have structure within our new movement? Are all hierarchical distributions of responsibility inherently oppressive?
Do we still need organized efforts, or do we feel like we can do it on our own, individually?
I want to know, Feronians. I want to know how you keep your eyes closed at night knowing that a storm is raging in your honor, right inside your halls of congress. That elected officials are trying to take away your right to control your body, and control your life. Do you feel like you’re being represented?
I’m now interested in networking with people, of all races, sexes, creeds, ages, genders, ethnicities who are in alliance that equality is a human right and who are willing to stand up and do something about it. It’s time to speak up.